January 7, 2008, 12:00 AM

With strong finish, online holiday sales end up ahead 19%, comScore says

After a slow early November, online sales grew at a 21% pace between Thanksgiving and Christmas, producing a 19% year-over-year gain for the holiday season, says web measurement firm comScore.

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Online retail sales picked up steam between Thanksgiving and Christmas, growing at a 21% rate over 2006 during that period. With that strong finish, online sales wound up ahead 19% over last year for the two-month holiday season, says web measurement firm comScore Inc.

That increase fell just short of comScore’s projection of 20% growth in holiday sales. The firm blamed a slow start to the holiday season for the shortfall: for the period Nov. 1-18, online sales grew by only 17%, and the late season rush could not quite make up for that sluggish start, comScore says.

For the months of November and December online sales totaled $29.17 billion, compared with $24.57 billion in the last two months of 2006. The heaviest week was the one ended Dec. 16, with $4.7 billion in web sales; the previous week was a close second at $4.6 billion.

The heaviest day for online sales was Monday, Dec. 10, with $881 million in purchases. The first Monday after Thanksgiving, which some call “Cyber Monday” and consider the kick-off to the holiday shopping season online, was only the ninth busiest shopping day of the season with $733 million in sales.

The fastest-growing product category was video games, consoles and accessories, up 129% over last year, helped by strong demand for the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation game consoles and games like Halo 3.

Here are the 10 heaviest online shopping days of the 2007 holiday season, with the value of goods purchased each day in millions, according to comScore:

  • Monday, Dec, 10, $881
  • Tuesday, Dec. 11, $819
  • Thursday, Dec. 6, $803
  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, $798
  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, $776
  • Wednesday, Dec. 12, $754
  • Monday, Dec. 3, $753
  • Friday, Dec. 7, $734
  • Monday, Nov. 26, $733
  • Thursday, Nov. 29, $733

Here are the 10 fastest-growing categories of goods sold online, with the percentage increase in sales over 2006, according to comScore:

  • Video games, consoles & accessories, 129%
  • Furniture, appliances & equipment, 67%
  • Event tickets, 24%
  • Consumer electronics, 23%
  • Apparel & accessories, 18%
  • Sports & fitness, 16%
  • Toys, 16%
  • Computer hardware, 15%
  • Music, movies & videos, 13%
  • Books & magazines, 13%

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